Happy Halloween 🎃

A076FB9E-60CC-471E-AD26-0799BAC1097DWe are suckers for holiday themed foods and now that we have kids we have even more reason to get into the spirit. Our toddler gobbled up these stuffed bell peppers, recipe can be found on missmarzipancom’s site. The beans and quinoa were the perfect healthy and filling start to a treat filled evening.

 

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As a new Mom I’m still navigating how to balance the fun of Halloween while not overdoing it on the sugar. What do you do with the all of the candy your little ones get?

We’re planning on testing out the Great Pumpkin idea. We told our son that he will leave the candy out at night and the Great Pumpkin will come during the night and trade it out for a gift. I’m excited to see how it goes!

Welcome Oliver!

54F891BA-27FE-4089-91BB-2F002EDA406DWe’ve added a new member to the Herbivore Family! Meet Oliver. He is the sweetest little boy and (thankfully!) a much easier baby than our first was.

Now that we have two kiddos we have been so busy and are just now getting our feet back under us to start sharing some yummy vegan recipes and inspiration again. 

Thanks for sharing in our adventures!

Brandi

We’re Expecting! What That Means for My Plant Based Life Style

We have news at Herbivore Diaries! We are expecting our 2nd baby boy and oh has it been tough to be a plant based pregnant mommy. I have found that my will power is way down and cravings for all sorts of crazy things have been way up! This is to be expected of course, but I think during this stage of our lives we have so much pressure to do everything perfect for our growing baby: don’t go in hot tubs, don’t consume too much caffeine, no alcohol, make sure you’re sleeping in the right position… the list goes on! And it’ exhausting.

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This being my second pregnancy I have to say I am much more relaxed about all the should and should nots. I am listening to my body and doing what feels right. Admittedly that has meant consuming dairy and meat products at various points, but the most important thing is coming back to my plant based life style and realigning with my values. It’s like meditation, we all think we should be totally thoughtless and focused while meditating, but the reality is we get distracted by thoughts, to do lists, and our surroundings. The most important thing is that we come back to our breath, back to our practice. That we take the time to practice every day, and eventually it gets easier. Sure we’ll have hard days, but the point is that we keep trying.

Sweet Potato with a Twist

We love sweet potatoes in our house and are always looking for new fun ways to eat them. So when our neighbor told us about one of her favorite recipes from Kitchn with chickpeas, sauteed greens, on top of a sweet potato we knew it was a match made in vegan food heaven! The combo is delicious, filling and so nutritious.

We ended up switching out the baby spinach for kale because we had so much on hand from our local farm stand and wanted to use it up. It turned out great so we have our kale version listed below. Let us know what you think!

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Sweet Potato with a Twist

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger, from a 3-inch piece
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 large pieces of kale
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 sweet potatoes
Cilantro leaves, to garnish

Heat oven to 400° F. Wash your sweet potatoes and then use a fork to poke holes in your sweet potatoes. Place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 45 minutes, or until you can easily stick a fork through.

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon zest. Cook for 3 minutes, while stirring frequently.

Add the chickpeas and turn up to high heat for a a minute or two. You will notice the chickpeas start as the mixture starts to stick to them.

De-stem your kale and slowly add to the pot in handfuls. When adding wait for each handful to wilt to make room before for the next batch before adding the next handful. Then add the coconut milk, salt, ground ginger, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Ensure the chickpeas are warm all the way through before removing from the heat. Add  salt and lemon juice to taste.

Cut the sweet potatoes down the middle and top them off with the kale and chickpea mixture. Add cilantro to garnish.

Enjoy!

The Pickens

Cucumber & Avocado Roll

Going vegan we were nervous we would miss out on the delicious foods we used to enjoy like sushi. However, we quickly discovered this Cucumber & Avocado Roll  was just the thing to get our satisfy our sushi itch.

Going vegan has been so great because we spend more time at home cooking and living a slower more conscientious life. We have had a sushi maker sitting in our drawer, I kid you not, for the past ten years without use. So when our craving hit this time we did something crazy – we made our own sushi! We were surprised to find it was actually really easy and we had been wasting money eating out at expensive sushi restaurants all these years.

We used Minado’s Perfect Sushi Rice from Food.com and made some modifications to make it a little bit easier because let’s face it we’re lazy. But the good news is ours turned out great even without all of the extra steps.

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Cucumber & Avocado Roll

Ingredients

2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons mirin (a Japanese wine and the secret ingredient!)
1 avocado
1/2 cucumber
2 kale leafs  or sheets of seaweed
Soy sauce or sauce of choice

Rinse and drain rice. Mix the mirin, vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.

 

Cook your rice in a rice cooker if you have one or use the below directions. More in depth version on their website. Like we said we’re lazy so we used the rice cooker.

Add rice to the stove and quickly bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer.

Bring quickly to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes before removing the pot from the heat, as their website says, ” keep the lid CLOSED.”

While your rice is cooking cut the cucumber into skinny spears and slice your avocado in thin slices as you would for avocado toast.

After removing from the heat wait 10 minutes to remove the cover. Then put rice in a glass dish and let the rice cool. Then add the vinegar mixture and mix the rice gently.

Strip the kale from the stem or get out your sheet of seaweed.

Lay out your kale or seaweed flat on your sushi roller.  Add a thin layer of rice then the cucumber and avocado and roll the ingredients into roll. Slice into 1/2 inch – 1 inch pieces and add your favorite sauce.

Enjoy!

The Pickens

 

 

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Fourth of July Toast

Happy 4th of July! We hope your day is filled with beautiful and healthy vegan snacks, like this one.

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To whip up this beauty, toast a slice of your favorite vegan bread. Spread nut butter, we used Nuttzo. Then add strawberries, blueberries, and top it off with some chopped cashews. Enjoy!

Ch-Ch-Chia Pudding

The first time we tried chia seed pudding we were obsessed and couldn’t wait to try and re-create the concoction at home. We were surprised to find that it is the easiest thing to make! It’s all about getting the right chia seed to liquid ratio. Our favorite ratio is 3 tablespoons chia seeds for every cup of almond milk.

Not only is it delicious and easy to make, but also beautiful. Definitely instagram-worthy.

Below is our recipe for vanilla chia seed pudding with berries.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups vanilla almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-3 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons granola
1 cup your choice of berries

Put all ingredients in a bowl and wisk together. Option to add them directly into a tupperware container, seal the lid, and shake! Once ingredients have been mixed put them in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. In the morning, mix in your choice of berries and granola.

Enjoy!
The Pickens

Easy Kale Chips for the Win

Being new vegans we were acutely aware of the need to get enough vitamin B12. After doing some research we found that one of the best ways to get B12 is through nutritional yeast – a vegan’s best friend! So we found this easy kale chip recipe that includes another opportunity to get some of this vital nutrients. That makes it a winner in our book!

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This recipe has been modified from the Plant Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton, which we highly recommend!

Ingredients

1 bunch kale
2 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons  lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 dash of salt

Start by turning your oven on to 150° or the lowest setting possible and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix all ingredients except kale leaves and nutritional yeast. Stir until smooth.

Wash your kale and strip the leaves from the stem. Dry the leaves in a spinner and use a paper towel or cloth to get any remaining moisture remaining.

Add the kale leaves to the bowl and massage gently with the sauce. Add the nutritional yeast and continue to massage the leaves until they are fully covered.

Move the kale to the parchment paper and spread out. Add a pinch of salt and place the baking sheets into the oven.

Bake for an hour. Then turn off oven, rotate the trays and let them sit for another 30 minutes. Turn on the oven again to the same setting and bake for another 25 minutes or until the kale is crispy (may be another 30 minutes if the oven is at a lower temperature).

Enjoy!
The Pickens